The NFL is officially through the halfway point, with every team having played at least eight games on their schedule. As such, we are seeing midseason awards and assessments.
This week, SI columnist Albert Breer put together his midseason awards. However, instead of simply making his picks, he reached out to various league personnel to get their thoughts on MVP, Offensive Player of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, Offensive Rookie of the Year, Defensive Rookie of the Year, and Coach of the Year. He assembled a panel of 18 voters, and they offered up a single vote for each category (so effectively, every vote was a first place vote).
The San Francisco 49ers ended up with some representation in the rookie categories. New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley received the most votes (12) for offensive rookie of the year, and 49ers right tackle Mike McGlinchey received one vote. Indianapolis Colts linebacker Darius Leonard received the most votes (8) for defensive rookie of the year, and 49ers linebacker Fred Warner received one vote.
McGlinchey has been a consistent force in run blocking, and has steadily improved as a pass blocker. You really could not ask for a much better rookie season from a top ten pick. He is all but assured of making the all-rookie team, and while linemen don’t win rookie of the year awards, he’s proving as good as most of the rookie class.
It’s interesting to note that McGlinchey is second only to Baker Mayfield in Pro Football Focus’ latest rookie rankings. Mayfield has slipped these past few weeks, and currently ranks only one spot ahead of McGlinchey in their weekly rankings. That being said, barring a huge finish by Baker Mayfield or one of the other quarterbacks, Barkley would seem to be the favorite. Phillip Lindsey has 72 more rushing yards (and a better ypc), but Barkley actually leads all rookies in receiving yards (ALL rookies, not just running backs). If Barkley keeps it up, he’s taking home the award.
Fred Warner has quietly chugged along as the 49ers Mike linebacker. He is fifth in the league in tackles, and PFF ranks him eighth among all linebackers in run stop percentage. It’s not shocking however that Leonard tops the polling. He leads the NFL in tackles, and is second among rookies with four sacks. Basic counting stats don’t tell the whole picture, but this will likely stand out for media voters.
PFF has Detroit Lions defensive tackle Da’Shawn Hand at the top of their rankings, followed by Cincinnati Bengals safety Jessie Bates, Los Angeles Chargers safety Derwin James, and then Leonard. Warner gets no mention, as his grade is in the middle of the pack for linebackers. If Leonard maintains his pace, he will take home defensive rookie of the year. Warner won’t take home the award, but he stands a good chance of earning an all-rookie award as well.